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Next Letter from Mayor Williams

           June 4th, 2004

 Greetings from the Mayor's Office.  I hope you have had a good week and that the weekend will allow you and your families to have a lot of fun or get a lot of needed work completed around the house, whichever is the priority.  Kay and I are going to try to do both with our grandchildren helping us.  We will be going to Huntsville tomorrow to watch our five-year old grandson, Luke Williams, play his last T-Ball game of the season.  We always enjoy visiting Luke, his mom and dad, Kara and Daniel, and his three-year old sister, Jillian.  They live in the Ryland community, just over the mountain on Highway 72 East.

 I want to thank our Electrical Utility Department for their hard work since Sunday night,  to get everyone’s electricity back into service.  This storm caused at least a couple of hundred thousand dollars in damage and costs to our system.  Gary Scroggins, Johnny Pryor, the crews, and all the support staff did an excellent job for us.  Most citizens do not know the process our folks go through when we have power outages.  As soon as it is safe to put crews in the field after damage occurs and assessments are made as to locations of the damage, the crews go out and begin work at the point of damage, that when repaired, will get power to the greatest number of customers.  Most of the time we have sub-stations knocked out and this source of power must be up and running before anyone can get power.  After these things are completed, we go to the next largest number of customers that can be restored.  We do have special exceptions such as the hospital, communications facilities, nursing homes, and homes that have persons on respirators or other life-saving medical devices that need electricity.  We try to get to them as soon as we can.  Sometimes we can’t get power back on quickly because lines and poles are down and must be rebuilt.  This takes some time and effort but most of this is done within the week.  This latest storm knocked down about fifty poles and lines and that takes a large amount of time to reconstruct.  The more isolated a home, the longer it will usually be out of power.  While power outages are no fun for anyone, I want you to know that our employees work very hard to make sure the customers have power as soon as possible.  Give them a work of thanks when you see them.

 Well, I hope the elections went to suit you because they are over and done.  Congratulations to Judge Jeannie Anderson for being re-elected to the District Judgeship.  Her opponent, Jim Moffett is to be congratulated for running a good, clean race during his first foray into politics.  Congratulations to our new Circuit Judge, Bob Baker, who won his first time out, over veteran Circuit Judge, George Craig.  This turned out to be a very close race.  Congratulations to Judge Craig and his family, for the long and hard campaign they fought, and for the many years of public service he and his family have given to us.  Congratulations to Bill Daws and his family for his big win over Shag Abernathy, for the County Commission District 4 Office.   Both men and their families are to be congratulated for their fine races.  From reports I have read, the County voted about 22% and the State about 16%.  We beat the state but we should have had a lot more voting.  I always want to encourage you to vote whenever you have the opportunity.

 The run-off election will be held on June 29, 2004, in Limestone County.  The item of most interest to the citizens of Limestone County for this election will be a Constitutional amendment regarding the City of Athens being allowed to participate in a new way for financing commercial projects.  We will be getting information out to you in order for you to be knowledgeable about this issue.

The Rotary Club had a special program on Friday to honor the family of the late Mrs. Jewell Rosenau, wife of the late Limestone County Superior Court Judge, D.L. Rosenau.  Her two daughters, Joy Graham, and Jill Hicks, were present for the occasion.  I presented a proclamation from the Mayor's Office proclaiming the day as Jewel Rosenau Day in Athens.  Mrs. Rosenau was a wonderful lady and she played the piano for the local Rotary Club for many years at their weekly meeting.  Jill and I were in the 1960 class at Athens High School and Mrs. Rosenau was active in our school affairs and was the chaperone at numerous parties and dances.  One fond memory I have of those days was our class trip to Washington, D.C., and New York City.  J.D. Clanton, our Senior class sponsor, Mrs. Rosenau, my father, Jake Williams, Mrs. J.C. Chisholm, mother of our classmate, Sharon Chisholm, and Fran Coggin, mother of our classmate, John Coggin, were our chaperones.  We had such a good time and they made sure we all behaved while we were there.  I feel honored to be asked to present this proclamation in memory to such a great lady.

 I attended a meeting in Montgomery Wednesday with the Alabama League of Municipalities regarding a proposed Bond Pooling Program for the Municipalities in the State of Alabama.  This program will allow smaller cities to have access to money for projects, but they will not have to go for a bond issue on their own.  The League pool would borrow in increments of fifty million as one issue, and the cities would tap into that pool.  I will have more about this later.

 Some of us have birthdays coming up very soon.  Mine will be Sunday, June 6.  My daughter, Whitney, will have hers on June 8.  Ewell Smith, retiree from Athens State University, is exactly one year younger than me.  Ewell and his family have had a great influence upon our community.  His dad, Bill Smith, served as City Councilman for several terms,  Billy Swanner, retired from Alabama National Guard, is exactly ten years older than me.  Billy is a great friend who has always supported me.  He served our Nation well in the Korean War with the 1343d Engineer Battalion, which included a lot of our current citizens of Athens.  I don’t know what our family will do for our birthdays but we always get together to eat cake and ice cream with our extended family.  Let us know what you did for yours.

 Speaking of birthdays and age, the kids starting to college this fall were born in 1985 and a college in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year’s list:

They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.

Their lifetime has always included aids.

Bottle caps have always been screw-off and plastic.

The CD was introduced the year they were born.

They have always had answering machines.

They have always had cable T.V.

They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.

Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.

They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

They can’t imagine what hard contacts are.

They don’t know who Mork was and where he was from.

They never heard: “Where’s the beef?,  I’d walk a mile for a Camel”, or “de plane boss, de plane”.

They don’t care who shot J.R., and have no idea who he was.

McDonalds never came in Styrofoam containers.

They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter.

 

I thought about a few more things I did that they never did:

They never played mumbley peg.

They never have knocked rocks.

They never used Rose or Vaseline hair oil to comb their hair.

They never got flattops.

They never wore ducktails.

They never did art with a piece of string on their fingers.

Their class never sang, “Good morning to you” to their teacher each day.

They never played “Roll the bat”, or “Shove up”.

They never made their own kites.

They never clamped their skates on their shoes with a skate key.

They never ate Uncle Remus candy.

They never purchased a 4 cent Grapette cold drink.

They never had a “dime Baby Ruth”.

They never cob battled in the barn.

They never got their typhoid shot before going swimming the first time.

They never saw mules and wagons around the Courthouse square.

They never paid a dime to get in the Ritz theatre.

They never ate a Daniel’s hamburger.

They never picked or chopped cotton.

They never made clover chains.

Maybe you can add to this list.  It would be interesting to hear other things you remember that I have forgotten.  Let me hear from you with your list and I’ll add it next week.

I received a birthday card from our niece, Pearl Lamb, who lives in St. Louis with her husband Scott and their children.  She said she enjoyed reading this letter on athensplus.com and I’m glad she has access.  Pearl is a favorite cousin of our kids and we wish we could see her and the kids often.  Her parents are Gail and J.D. Clanton who live on Brookwood Drive in Athens.  She needs to send me her e-mail address so Kay can stay in touch more often.

Don’t forget that our second annual Freedom Feste is coming up on July fourth weekend at the Athens High School stadium in one month.  This will be a two day event so be looking at the local papers and t.v. to find out what is happening and when to be there.  This will be to honor our troops and all those involved in the war on terror.  Be sure that you say a special prayer for the men and women each day to be safe and that they may be returned to their loved ones soon.

I will be reading at the Green Door Book store and café on Saturday morning at their after school blowout.  I think this program is for all kids who are out of school for the summer.  Come on out and join in the fun for this day. 

 Our new swimming pool, located in the Sportsplex, opened today, Friday, June 4.  The cost is $4 for adults and $3 for children.  A season pass can be purchased for $160 per person.  The hours of operation will be 12:00 to 9:00 p.m., each day except Wednesday and Saturday will be 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.  The pool will be closed on Sundays.  This is a brand new, beautiful facility for our citizens and we ask that everyone do their best to take care of it.  The lifeguards and management will ask everyone to be on their best behavior so parents will feel good about their children using the pool.  Go by the Sportsplex and see our new pool at your first opportunity.  
Take care and I’ll see you next week.    mayordan